Shuffling. Scuffling. Shuffling sounds cut the dark forest din. Quick rodents scurry past the door-flap of your canvass enclosure. Your eyelids lift as your mind transitions to blissful confusion. You slowly rise in an early-hours-daze as infant light beams dart just over the fertile mountainside. The zipper of your tent takes some convincing, but finally acquiesces and comes unstuck as you stumble your way out into the awakening woodland. The great outdoors. In the tech-centric world we inhabit, it’s a place we just don’t visit often enough. At least, that’s what Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher believes.
“Sometimes you just have to do something that is good for you, that doesn’t sound like it’s good for you but it is. I’m dangerous,” He explains. “The world isn’t always going to treat you the way you think it should so you just gotta roll with the punches and every once in a while do some things.”
Gallagher is, of course, describing his rationale into creating the new annual Pitt Tuition Hike, an excursion that honors the university’s historic tithe. Beginning in Spring 2016, University of Pittsburgh students across all years, schools, and disciplines will journey to a mountain and use their Pitt know-how to avoid falling boulders, poisonous snakes, and crippling student loan debt.
“And every year will be different.” The chancellor relishes as his tongue slithers feverishly past his lips, “The first year we will climb what seems like a reasonably small, reasonably priced, mountain.” He interrupts himself, “DANGER, I AM DANGER.” Then continues, “In the following years, we will climb higher and higher hills until we reach our goal: the highest mountain in America!”
This mandatory trek has caused some concern among students, but Gallagher is not troubled. He concludes, “I AM DANGER I AM DANGEROUS TO HAVE AROUND OH MY GOD HOW DID I GET THIS JOB?!” He then takes one ferocious final gulp from his milk goblet before slithering out of his office to the depths of his cherished forest nook.